Departed

George Michael joins 2016's long roll of famous deaths

Dec. 2, 1993: George Michael performs at the 'Concert of Hope' to mark World AIDS Day at Wembley Arena in London.

Dec. 2, 1993: George Michael performs at the 'Concert of Hope' to mark World AIDS Day at Wembley Arena in London.  (AP/Gill Allen)

George Michael, who rose to fame as a member of the 1980s pop duo Wham and went on to sell more than 100 million albums in a music career spanning four decades, died at his home Dec. 25 at the age of 53.

Michael is the latest of many noteworthy people who died in 2016, a list that included fellow pop superstars David Bowie and Prince, sports stars Muhammad Ali and Arnold Palmer, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia and former first lady Nancy Reagan.

Below is a selected list of famous figures who left us in 2016. (Cause of death cited for younger people, if available.)

JANUARY

David Bowie, 69. Other-worldly musician who broke pop and rock boundaries with his creative musicianship, striking visuals and a genre-spanning persona he christened Ziggy Stardust. Jan. 10.

Alan Rickman, 69. Classically-trained British stage star and sensual screen villain in the "Harry Potter" saga and other films. Jan. 14.

Glenn Frey, 67. Rock 'n' roll rebel who co-founded the Eagles and with Don Henley formed one of history's most successful songwriting teams with such hits as "Hotel California" and "Life in the Fast Lane." Jan. 18.

Abe Vigoda, 94. Character actor whose leathery, sad-eyed face made him ideal for playing the over-the-hill detective Phil Fish in the 1970s TV series "Barney Miller" and the doomed Mafia soldier in "The Godfather." Jan. 26.

Paul Kantner, 74. Founding member of the Jefferson Airplane who stayed with the seminal band through its transformation from 1960s hippies to 1970s hit makers as the eventual leader of successor group Jefferson Starship. Jan. 28.

FEBRUARY

Antonin Scalia, 79. Influential conservative and most provocative member of the U.S. Supreme Court. Feb. 13.

Boutros Boutros-Ghali, 93. Veteran Egyptian diplomat who helped negotiate his country's landmark peace deal with Israel but clashed with the United States when he served a single term as U.N. secretary-general. Feb. 16.

Harper Lee, 89. Elusive novelist whose child's-eye view of racial injustice in a small Southern town, "To Kill a Mockingbird," became standard reading for millions of young people and an Oscar-winning film. Feb. 19.

Umberto Eco, 84. Italian author who intrigued, puzzled and delighted readers worldwide with his best-selling historical novel "The Name of the Rose." Feb. 19.

MARCH

Nancy Reagan, 94. Helpmate, backstage adviser and fierce protector of Ronald Reagan in his journey from actor to president — and finally during his battle with Alzheimer's disease. March 6.

George Martin, 90. The Beatles' urbane producer who quietly guided the band's swift, historic transformation from rowdy club act to musical and cultural revolutionaries. March 8.

Phife Dawg, 45. Lyricist whose witty wordplay was a linchpin of the groundbreaking hip-hop group A Tribe Called Quest. March 22. Complications from diabetes.

Garry Shandling, 66. Actor and comedian who masterminded a brand of phony docudrama with "The Larry Sanders Show." March 24.

Patty Duke, 69. As a teen, she won an Oscar for playing Helen Keller in "The Miracle Worker," then maintained a long career while battling personal demons. March 29.

APRIL

Merle Haggard, 79. Country giant who rose from poverty and prison to international fame through his songs about outlaws, underdogs and an abiding sense of national pride in such hits as "Okie From Muskogee" and "Sing Me Back Home." April 6.

Doris Roberts, 90. She played the tart-tongued, endlessly meddling mother on "Everybody Loves Raymond." April 17.

Chyna, 46. Tall, muscle-bound, raven-haired pro-wrestler who rocketed to popularity in the 1990s and later made the rounds on reality TV. April 20.

Dwayne "Pearl" Washington, 52. Basketball player who went from New York City playground wonder to Big East star for Jim Boeheim at Syracuse. April 20.

Prince, 57. One of the most inventive and influential musicians of modern times with hits including "Little Red Corvette," ''Let's Go Crazy" and "When Doves Cry." April 21.

MAY

Morley Safer, 84. Veteran "60 Minutes" correspondent who was equally at home reporting on social injustices, the Orient Express and abstract art, and who exposed a military atrocity in Vietnam that played an early role in changing Americans' view of the war. May 19.

JUNE

Muhammad Ali, 74. Heavyweight champion whose fast fists, irrepressible personality and determined spirit transcended sports and captivated the world. June 3.

Peter Shaffer, 90. British playwright whose durable, award-winning hits included "Equus" and "Amadeus." June 6.

Kimbo Slice, 42. Bearded street fighter who parlayed his Internet popularity into a mixed martial arts career. June 6.

Gordie Howe, 88. Known as "Mr. Hockey," the rough-and-tumble Canadian farm boy whose blend of talent and toughness made him the NHL's quintessential star. June 10.

Pat Summitt, 64. Winningest coach in Division I college basketball history who uplifted the women's game from obscurity to national prominence during her 38-year career at Tennessee. June 28.

JULY

Elie Wiesel, 87. Romanian-born Holocaust survivor whose classic "Night" became a landmark testament to the Nazis' crimes and launched his career as one of the world's foremost witnesses and humanitarians. July 2.

Michael Cimino, 77. Oscar-winning director whose film "The Deer Hunter" became one of the great triumphs of Hollywood's 1970s heyday and whose disastrous "Heaven's Gate" helped bring that era to a close. July 2.

Sydney H. Schanberg, 82. Former New York Times correspondent awarded a Pulitzer Prize for his coverage of the genocide in Cambodia in 1975 and whose story of the survival of his assistant inspired the film "The Killing Fields." July 9.

Nate Thurmond, 74. Tenacious NBA defensive center who played with Wilt Chamberlain. July 16.

Marni Nixon, 86. Hollywood voice double whose singing was heard in place of the leading actresses' in such movie musicals as "West Side Story," ''The King and I" and "My Fair Lady." July 24.

AUGUST

John McLaughlin, 89. Conservative commentator and host of a long-running television show that pioneered hollering-heads discussions of Washington politics. Aug. 16.

Gene Wilder, 83. Frizzy-haired actor who brought his deft comedic touch to such unforgettable roles as the neurotic accountant in "The Producers" and the mad scientist of "Young Frankenstein." Aug. 28.

SEPTEMBER

Phyllis Schlafly, 92. Outspoken conservative activist who helped defeat the Equal Rights Amendment in the 1970s and founded the Eagle Forum political group. Sept. 5.

Edward Albee, 88. Three-time Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright who challenged theatrical convention in masterworks such as "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" and "A Delicate Balance." Sept. 16.

W.P. Kinsella, 81. Canadian novelist who blended magical realism and baseball in the book that became the smash hit film "Field of Dreams." Sept. 16.

Arnold Palmer, 87. Golfing great who brought a country-club sport to the masses with a hard-charging style, charisma and a commoner's touch. Sept. 25.

Shimon Peres, 93. Former Israeli president and prime minister, whose life story mirrored that of the Jewish state and who was celebrated around the world as a Nobel prize-winning visionary who pushed his country toward peace. Sept. 28.

OCTOBER

Dario Fo, 90. Italian playwright whose energetic mocking of Italian political life, social mores and religion won him praise, scorn and the Nobel Prize for Literature. Oct. 13.

King Bhumibol Adulyadej, 88. World's longest reigning monarch, he was revered in Thailand as a demigod, a humble father figure and an anchor of stability through decades of upheaval at home and abroad. Oct. 13.

Dennis Byrd, 51. Former NFL defensive lineman whose career was ended by neck injury. Oct. 15. Car accident.

NOVEMBER

Janet Reno, 78. First woman to serve as U.S. attorney general and the epicenter of several political storms during the Clinton administration, including the seizure of Elian Gonzalez. Nov. 7.

Leonard Cohen, 82. Baritone-voiced Canadian singer-songwriter who blended spirituality and sexuality in songs like "Hallelujah," ''Suzanne" and "Bird on a Wire." Nov. 7.

Robert Vaughn, 83. Debonair, Oscar-nominated actor whose many film roles were eclipsed by his hugely popular turn in television's "The Man From U.N.C.L.E." Nov. 11.

Gwen Ifill, 61. Co-anchor of PBS' "NewsHour" with Judy Woodruff and a veteran journalist who moderated two vice presidential debates. Nov. 14.

Ralph Branca, 90. Brooklyn Dodgers pitcher who gave up the "Shot Heard 'Round the World" that still echoes six decades later as one of the most famous home runs in baseball history. Nov. 23.

Florence Henderson, 82. Broadway star who became one of America's most beloved television moms in "The Brady Bunch." Nov. 24.

Fidel Castro, 90. He led his bearded rebels to victorious revolution in 1959, embraced Soviet-style communism and defied the power of U.S. presidents during his half-century of rule in Cuba. Nov. 25.

DECEMBER

John Glenn, 95. His 1962 flight as the first U.S. astronaut to orbit the Earth made him an all-American hero and propelled him to a long career in the U.S. Senate. Dec. 8.

Alan Thicke, 69. Versatile performer who gained his greatest renown as the beloved dad on the sitcom "Growing Pains." Dec. 13.

Craig Sager, 65. Longtime NBA sideline reporter famous for his flashy suits and probing questions. Dec. 15.

Henry Heimlich, 96. Surgeon who created the life-saving Heimlich maneuver for choking victims. Dec. 17.

Zsa Zsa Gabor, 99. Jet-setting Hungarian actress and socialite who helped invent a new kind of fame out of multiple marriages, conspicuous wealth and jaded wisdom about the glamorous life. Dec. 18.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.